Shareholder Campaign: Merck
Merck & Co. markets a wide range of prescription
pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter consumer health-care products, and animal-care
2005 Resolution: 'Give the Animals 5'
With the help of PETA supporters who held stock in Merck, this
called on the company to "Give
the Animals 5"— replace five crude and cruel animal tests with state-of-the-art and
scientifically valid non-animal methods that were already in use in other
Despite its progressively worded "Animal Care and Use
Policy," Merck opposed our resolution. Nonetheless, PETA contacted Merck's
corporate secretary in a good-faith effort to establish a constructive dialog
as an alternative to bringing our resolution forward at the company's annual
meeting. That discussion was brief and unproductive, as Merck refused to supply
even the names of its representatives on the teleconference.
PETA's resolution was brought to a vote at Merck's annual
meeting and received almost 35 million shares (2.8 percent).
2006 Resolution: Animal Welfare Policy
PETA submitted a resolution with
Merck calling on the company to extend its animal welfare policy to include social and behavioral enrichment measures for the
animals used both in-house and at contract testing laboratories.
The resolution was largely the result of the horrors uncovered in
the independent contract testing laboratory Covance Inc., whose officials boasted
that their clients included "just about every major company around the world."
Merck published our resolution in its proxy materials, along
with its opposition statement advising shareholders to vote against it. Our
resolution garnered almost 5 percent of the vote (more than 66 million shares),
which qualified it to be reintroduced in 2007.
Animal Welfare Policy
PETA re-filed the previous resolution with Merck for its
2007 annual shareholder meeting. Merck opposed
stating that the company already substantially implemented the elements of the
proposal. Unfortunately, the Securities
and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruled in Merck's favor and PETA's resolution did
not appear in Merck's proxy materials that year.
Transparency in Animal Use
PETA filed a resolution requesting that
Merck issue an annual report disclosing the number and species of animals used
in-house and at contract laboratories. Merck challenged our resolution,
claiming that PETA did not supply sufficient
evidence that we owned continuous stock in the company for one year. The SEC agreed with Merck that, as a result of Merck's 2009
merger with Schering-Plough, PETA stock holdings were a few days short of the
requirement, so PETA's resolution did not appear in Merck's proxy materials
Transparency in Animal Use
Expanding upon PETA's 2011
resolution calling for Merck to exhibit greater transparency in its use of
animals in experiments, PETA's 2012 resolution requested that the company's board issue an annual
report to shareholders disclosing the procedures that the company takes to
ensure proper animal care in-house and at contract laboratories. Merck asked
the SEC for permission to exclude our resolution, stating that the company
already substantially implemented the elements of the proposal, and the SEC
agreed. PETA filed a lawsuit against Merck to stop the company from excluding
PETA's resolution from its proxy materials, and a court affirmed the exclusion.
The court ruled that PETA's request for procedures to ensure proper animal care
was substantially implemented by Merck's animal-research policy, despite the
fact that the broad policy included no specific procedures and had been so
ineffective that Merck had been cited by the government for violations of the
Animal Welfare Act's minimal standards
for the previous three years.
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.